On song for new operatic season


A SEASON of exciting new productions and revivals of firm favourites are in store from Opera North this autumn and winter.

The Leeds-based company opens its autumn season at Leeds Grand Theatre with a revival of its acclaimed 2007 production of Puccini’s Madama Butterfly, with French soprano Anne Sophie Durprels reprising the role of Cio-Cio San (Butterfly), which won her widespread praise.

Peter Savidge also returns to sing Sharpless, while American tenor Noah Stewart makes his British opera debut as Pinkerton.

Hugely acclaimed during its 2009-10 run, Gilbert and Sullivan’s Ruddigore also returns this autumn, by popular demand, with largely the same cast.

Re-appearances include Australian baritone Grant Doyle as Sir Ruthven Oakapple and British tenor Hal Cazalet reprising Richard Dauntless.

The final highlight of the autumn season is Opera North’s first production of Tchaikovsky’s The Queen of Spades, in October.

Dame Josephine Barstow returns to Opera North to sing the Countess, having most notably performed as Elizabeth I in the company’s production of Gloriana, last revive in 2002.

Orla Boylan makes her Opera North debut as Lisa, while Jeffrey Lloyd Roberts returns to sing Herman.

A new production of Handel’s Giulio Cesare kicks off the winter season, in an area of the opera repertoire relatively unexplored by Opera North.

It is also the first time the opera has been staged by a national opera company in the UK for six years. Tim Albery directs mezzo-soprano Pamela Helen Stephen and soprano Sarah Tynan in the lead roles.

Reuniting American soprano Takesha Meshe Kizart with director Christopher Alden, a duo who created a memorable Tosca in 2008, Opera North tackles Norma for the first time in 25 years in January.

Further ahead, the second strand of Opera North’s four-year journey through Wagner’s Ring Cycle, Die Walkure, is staged in June next year.

Led by music director Richard Farnes, Alwyn Mellor returns to Opera North to sing the role of Sieglinde, while Swedish soprano Annalena Persson sings Brunnhilde in her debut with the company.

For full details of all shows visit www.operanorth.co.uk